Project Management Concepts – Most Important Resource

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at what is controlled, the resources that we can use to carry out the work of the project, and particularly the most important resource. The concept I am looking at today is: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.

We already know that we can, within limits, control time taken, money spent, and scope fulfilled. But how are they controlled? Essentially, we are looking at how we can control these three resources. A project manager will have a certain amount of time and money to achieve a certain amount of scope.

But the key resource, the one which effects all of the project, is, of course, the team of people who are actually doing the work. In them, the three areas of control are combined.

Each of the team members has only a limited amount of time they can work on the project. Each of the team members will need to be paid for. And each of the team members will have different skills, and different abilities. Project management, then, needs to be able to guide the work of the team in the right way. We must allocate the work to the right individuals, giving guidance as to how long to spend on it, what quality is needed, and, if expenditure other than that on the team member’s salary is needed, how much can be spent.

So, we need control of the resources allocated to the project, and that includes the team. But, unlike money and time, team members can easily be distracted and pulled off to work on something else. But a project manager needs to retain control.

This leads us to a project management concept: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.